Apart from the the first two photos, which were taken en route to the Rhino Sanctuary, (see previous post), the remainder were taken around the Sanctuary itself, before we moved on to the next resort; I took a great many shots, so I have tried to select the better ones for these blogs!
Just outside Gaborone, the capital city, street vendors such as these ladies, are a common sight at the roadside. It’s also quite normal to see them in any busy location, either sitting in the sun or under an umbrella, waiting for their next customer! The people sell almost anything from drinks, snacks, fruit, vegetables and knick-knacks. They all presumably make a living, but it must be a hard life!
Patrick, Christelle and Nigel enjoying a coffee at a small cafe in the city centre. Rich and imaginative African decorations bring life to the walls!
Next to a small waterhole, we saw these zebra and an eland (taurotragus oryx) in the foreground. The world's largest antelope was once widespread across Africa but is now only found in protected areas, though still fairly common. This eland looks as if it has a deformed horn but presumably that does not cause it any discomfort.
Impala (Aepyceros melampus) are very common; this is a youngster. They both graze and browse, depending on what fodder is available; this ability to expand their feed variety helps them to be one of the most successful antelope species.
The white rhinoceros (ceratotherium simum) used to be common, but because of poaching, they are close to being endangered. Botswana has very strict anti-poaching laws and the government is doing everything possible to look after its rhino population. Many rhino have migrated here from countries to the east, presumably because they perceive it is safer.
A springbok (antidorcas marsupialis) is one of the most common antelopes. Its name derives from the Afrikaans words "spring" (to jump) and "bok" (antelope). A behavioural feature unique to the springbok is called "pronking", in which the springbok performs multiple leaps into the air with stiff legs. It looks so joyful!
A warthog (phacochoerus africanus). They are very common, and easily spotted in open areas of the bush. I suspect this one is fairly young, as its tusks are not well developed. Warthogs have the peculiar habit of kneeling on the front knees while feeding.
Waterbuck (kobus ellipsiprymnus) are also fairly common. Their rump have a characteristic white ring, like a target! Only the bulls have long, forward curved horns, so these two will be females.
Southern yellow-billed hornbill (Tockus leucomelas) are a common sight. They feed on seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. They have a distinctive swooping flight and when on the ground, they hop around, looking for food.
A Burchell's zebra foal. (equus quagga burchellii) The Burchell's zebra is the only zebra occuring in Botswana and it has been adopted as their national animal.
Brown-veined white butterfly (Belenois aurota).
Cape vulture also known as Cape griffon or Kolbe's vulture, (Gyps coprotheres) posed characteristically in a look-out tree. They are listed as endangered, many having been illegally poisoned or shot by livestock breeders. The species usually breeds and roosts on cliff faces in or near mountains, from where it can fly long distances in search of the large animal carcasses, on which it specialises.
The crowned lapwing (vanellus coronatus) is common on open grassland.
A dung beetle, one of the 800 species in South Africa and Botswana! Unsurprisingly, I am not sure which one this is! There are four different kinds of dung beetle, named according to the way they use to move the dung. This one is known as a "roller" – it rolls dung into these smooth, neat, round balls for use as food, or as a depository in which the females can lay their eggs. The beetles are extremely strong, capable of rolling a ball of dung 50 times their own weight!
An elegant grasshopper (zonocerus elegans). The bright colours will let any predator know that it is poisonous. Its toxins are ingested from the plants it eats. It probably would not be harmful to humans if eaten, but will cause problems to smaller creatures.
The european bee-eater (merops apiaster) is common. As the name suggests, bee-eaters predominantly eat insects, especially bees, wasps, and hornets. They catch insects in flight, and generally nest in burrows which both males and females excavate in earth cliffs.
The gemsbok (oryx gazella). Their preferred habitat is dry open grasslands. They are fairly common and their very striking facial features and back-sloping horns make them almost unmistakable!
A giraffe (giraffe camelopardalis). They are visible from a long way off, but being the tallest animal in the world must have pros and cons!
These herbivores browse for their food supply, and have the advantage of height which enables them access to food supply other herbivores cannot reach.
Black-backed jackals (canis mesomelas) are fairly common.